50 Years Ago . . . They Crossed That Bridge!

bloody sunday

It’s Monday . . .

What are “we” going to do with it?! Make the most of it! This past weekend was needed to refocus and get things organized as best I can. On Saturday, there were commemorative events honoring the Civil Rights efforts of those in Alabama who marched in peaceful protest … that’s what I said … and had to be protected the second time by federalized troops organized by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Just yesterday, I attended the Brahma Kumaris World Peace Meditation in Hollywood. Halima led us in some Qi gong movements to cleanse ourselves. Brother Matthew from Oxford, England spoke and sang with his guitar. Sister Marianne was also there! During the moments of meditation, I looked skyward to the “powerful spirits” of those who lost their lives, those who marched on, those of other ethnic groups who supported the marchers and those who survived, like Rep. John Lewis, who was knocked senseless in the first March by the Alabama State Troopers . . . that was 50 years ago . . . I was 9 going on 10 . . .

You see, when folks have been beaten by police with billy clubs and shocked with cattle prods … by the police, I said … they may have a propensity NOT to trust them as much today. I mean it was only 50 years ago when this barbaric attack by “law enforcement” was staged by then Governor of Alabama, George Wallace. It was January 22nd, 1965 when Dr. King registered at the Albert Hotel after leading a successful march to register blacks to vote at the county courthouse. On or around February 5th, 1965, an estimated 3,300 people were arrested, included whites who agreed, in a voter registration march there in Alabama! On March 7th, 1965, “Bloody Sunday”, the marchers organized at the Pettus Bridge planning to go to Montgomery but were met with brutal barbaric force and senseless ignorant violence by Alabama State Troopers and citizens who … just 50 years ago … felt that “blacks” should NOT have the right to vote and needed to stop their peaceful protests to gain the right to vote … here in the United States of America. Alabama Gov. Wallace had ordered the State Troopers to use tear gas on the marchers, yes … children and women included. This is where Dr. King implemented Gandhi’s strategy of peaceful nonviolent protest and resistance. The marchers were savagely beaten at every possible occasion by every angry able-bodied “idiot”!! The televised and recorded attacks forced Pres. Johnson to provide protection for the peaceful marchers and to later pass legislation enabling “blacks” their already existing right to vote, not to mention the right to register to vote in Alabama. That was only 50 years ago … I was 9 years old …

Again, the March to Montgomery was staged by Dr. King and Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee leader John Lewis, on March 21, 1965. The peaceful protesters marched all day for about 5 days, slept in the fields at night, and were accompanied by federalized troops and law enforcement agencies organized by then Pres. Johnson. This is the power of “non-violent peaceful protest” . . . the power of peace! I’ll say it again … have a great day and a wonderful week. May we never forget those who crossed that bridge 50 years ago …


John I. Cook, Director

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